High CRP and What It Means for Polymyalgia

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a blood test marker that your doctor might test for if he or she suspects that you have an inflammation or a chronic inflammatory disease, such as polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). Learn what the CRP test is and what its results could mean to you as a polymyalgia sufferer.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a blood test marker that your doctor might test for if he or she suspects that you have an inflammation or a chronic inflammatory disease, such as polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). However, there are other diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis in which a CRP test is also required for diagnosis.

An autoimmune disease develops when the immune system interprets our healthy cells to be foreign. Autoimmunity usually affects body tissues. There are about 80 autoimmune diseases. The most common  are lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, anemia and polymyalgia rheumatica.

Polymyalgia is a common form of inflammatory disease in old people and usually mistaken for arthritis. However,there are also cases of patients with polymyalgia rheumatica who are younger than 50-years old.

PMR causes pain and stiffness in the shoulders and neck, hips and arms while affecting lining of joints. It can be diagnosed through blood tests such as red blood cell count, ESR and CRP test.

C-reactive protein is a substance generated by the liver when an inflammation exists. The C-reactive protein mixes with the blood. A high or positive result in the CRP test will tell of a systemic inflammation.

High CRP Indicates Inflammation

A CRP positive result is a reliable indicator that shows the patient’s increased likelihood to have a stroke or heart attack. In other cases, it is also an indicator of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and infections. Serious diseases that may be traced by a CRP test include cancer, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. Most importantly, high CRP will indicate inflammation that is symptomatic of an autoimmune disease like polymyalgia rheumatica.

A CRP test does not require special preparation. The nurse just draws blood from the inside of the elbow or from the back of our hand. A CRP test is measured in milligrams of CRP per liter of blood.

Negative C-reactive protein in the blood means you have normal CRP levels. A level just a bit above normal CRP is interpreted as minimal inflammation of the body. A high CRP level is indicates otherwise.

A CRP level higher than 3.0 mg per liter means that the patient is suffering from chronic inflammation. But this result will need supporting tests to identify what kind of autoimmune disease the patient is suffering from.

CRP and ESR

An elevated CRP is usually parallel with the result of ESR or erythrocyte sedimentation rate. High results for CRP rate and ESR will give the doctor a good picture of the presence of autoimmune disease like PMR. This will signal the rheumatologist to prescribe the proper medication for PMR.

ESR alone cannot tell that you have polymyalgia but CRP will strongly confirm it.

ESR & Polymyalgia

PMR Treatment

A corticosteroid treatment is usually prescribed for patients whose ESR and CRP rate are abnormally high. A low red blood cell count will also support the results of high CRP. Low red blood cell count means the patient is anemic. Anemia is one of the common symptoms of PMR.

Leave a Comment